Steamboat Springs, a little piece of Colorado Heaven
As someone who likes to travel and find places that offer a lot of activities and things to do, I am always on the search for that next great place to visit. This past weekend, I had the joy of visiting one of my favorite towns, Steamboat Springs, CO. While I have been to Steamboat a number of times, I’ve never expanded on my love for the town on ActiveGearReview.com. After this recent visit, I thought it would be a great time to talk about all there’s to do in the city in case you’re still trying to sneak in a vacation this season.
Activities available in Steamboat
When traveling and vacationing, finding a place where I can partake in a variety of activities is important to me. One, I enjoy getting out and being active, but more important, my wife needs to get out and be active to tolerate me. On this last trip to Steamboat, we crammed in as much as we could into 4 days of vacationing. As the town of steamboat is trying to get a more even flow of year round people visiting, Steamboat has made a significant effort to bring people into town during the non-winter months. To do this, they’ve begun to add a number of trails for running, mountain biking, and hiking. This includes trails at the resort which is 2 miles from the town center as well as trails outside the resort.
Our 1st day included a hike up to the Rabbit Ears Peak which is an easy to moderate hike that’s approximately 5 miles round-trip. During the summer time, there are hundreds, if not thousands of wild flowers to see while hiking this trail. This hike is primarily a 2 track and is great for families, hikers with dogs, or good ol solo hikers. At the top of the Rabbit Ears Peak, the views are stunning and are worth the last 1/2 mile of steeper hiking at the end.
Our 2nd day included a hike up to Gilpin Lake which is outside the Steamboat Springs city limits, but is an easy scenic drive that takes about 45 minutes from town to the trailhead. The Gilpin Lake hike is located in the Zirkel wilderness which is popular for backpacking, car camping, fishing, trail running, and hiking. The Gilpin Lake Hike should be considered moderate as the hike has a gradual incline and has a total round trip mileage of 9 miles. The hike has a number of water crossings and includes some muddy sections along the way. We hiked this trail with non waterproof shoes and did just fine, but depending on how much rain has been coming down, waterproof boots or running shoes are welcomed. To keep a sturdy foot on the water crossings, a handy pair of trekking poles or a walking stick will also help. For the daring, you can also take a dip in the lake once you reach the top, but beware, it’s COLD!
On day 3, we decided to mix things up a little bit and focus a little more on biking. To start the day, we went to the Moots factory tour to see how this boutique titanium bike frame maker makes magic out of titanium piping. This was a really neat tour as Moots is a made in the USA bike frame manufacture and only makes 1500 bike frames a year. Each frame is handmade and the tour takes you through all the steps of making a bike frame.
After, we went over to the Steamboat Resort to do a little mountain bike riding. While Steamboat Resort is known for it’s champagne powder in the winter, the trails they developed for Mountain biking are a close 2nd as far as fun goes. The trails are generally made for downhill riding which means you take the Gondola up with your bike and you get to ride down the trails. While you can take any bike down these trails, it’s recommended you take a Downhill oriented mountain bike which there are plenty to rent at the base of the mountain and in town. On this day, I was able to test out one of the amazing hand crafted Moots titanium frames while mountain biking and my wife was able to use one of the downhill focused mountain bikes from the resort. Both were a blast to ride, but the Moots bike was better for a cross country style of riding while the resort bike was better for downhill.
And while we focused more on Mountain Biking this time around, Steamboat is really starting to make a name for itself in the road bike scene. For more information on that, visit https://steamboatbiketown.com/
To top off the day, we went to the Steamboat Hot Springs in town which is a hot spring fed pool and is super relaxing. Not to mention, they have showers to wash off all the dirt from mountain biking earlier in the day.
Our last day in Steamboat consisted of running a half marathon road race that provided some good uphill running while running by magnificent million dollar mountain houses. Not only was the race fun and beautiful, I also had a chance to test out a new product from Steamboat, PowerIce which is super tasty and keeps your body stocked with electrolytes. Whether you’re looking to run on road or trail, Steamboat has a number of options for running. As running is my main sport, having good running options is always a good thing for me and my wife. There are tons of local dirt trails and paved bike paths to run on, but since the town doesn’t get too busy, running on the roads is pretty easy without having to suck in a ton of fumes.
Where to stay in Steamboat
While I’ve stayed in a number of hotels and condo’s in Steamboat over the years, this year I decided we’d do a little camping. Since we decided to go to Steamboat a last minute, we didn’t make a reservation at a campground. While it’s nice to have a reservation, reservations aren’t exactly necessary in my mind when camping in Steamboat in the summer. We found a nice campground near off of highway 40(one of the main roads that leads into Steamboat) called the meadows campground. The cost is $10 a night and includes bathrooms, fire pits, and picnic tables. It should be noted there is no running water, so I suggest bringing water with you or picking some water up while your’re in town. The campground is about a 15-20 minute drive to town which makes it a great home base if you’re looking to save a little money. There are also plenty of other campgrounds around Steamboat that range from $10-$20 a night and you can also do some primitive camping where you don’t have to pay anything, but there’s also no fire pits, picnic tables, bathrooms, etc. Each form of camping has their pros and cons in my mind.
If camping isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of other lodging options where you can get a cheaper room at the Rabbit Ears Motel or you can splurge and rent a million dollar mountain house. For somewhere in between, the Steamboat Grand is always a great option and is right next to the base of the resort.
Dining in Steamboat
Since Steamboat has a great mix of locals and the super rich, the town has a number of great dining options. While we didn’t eat at every restaurant in town, it’s worth noting a few places that won’t disappoint. First, for breakfast. Check out Freshies or Winona’s, both have some of the best breakfast meals you will ever eat! For lunch or dinner, we went to the Rex’s restaurant in the Holiday Inn off a locals tip. This restaurant had amazing food with good prices, which I definitely did not expect out of a Holiday Inn Hotel. If you’re in the mood for Mexican, Rio Grande is always good and consistent and located conveniently on main street. If you’re not looking for restaurant food or prices, there is a Natural Grocers grocery store that has ready made sandwiches and salads that taste good, are generally healthy, and pretty cheap.
Outdoor Companies in Steamboat
Because I love the outdoors and getting outside, I think it’s worth letting you know about the local outdoor companies located in Steamboat. The list of outdoor and active companies include Smartwool, Moots, Point 6, PowerIce, and Honey Stinger.
For more resources on what to do while you’re in Steamboat, please visit http://www.steamboat-chamber.com/